Equal educational opportunities for all

The goal of this activity is to help you think through real social issues in our society and think about how different people see the issues and present different solutions to these problems. Review the following scenario:

A local school district is in a heated debate regarding a school voucher program. The city school district has been going through a progressive decline in the past decade. Violent crime, gang activity, and drug abuse within the inner city has driven many families to relocate to the outskirts of the city and the suburbs. This mass exodus has only made matters worse. The continued urban decay has infested the schools. Available resources have been reallocated to support public safety while funds for educational programs have declined. A leader within the community has proposed to the city government officials to make school vouchers available to inner-city families to take advantage of better schools outside of the city limits. He says that it is discriminatory to restrict the better schools for the privileged few while those children who live in underprivileged areas of the city have no voice and do not have equal opportunities for education as those who have means. Those who oppose this recommendation mention that this is not the best resolution. They state that funds should be used to continue to make progressive improvements to these impoverished neighborhoods and schools. Merely bussing those students out to the suburbs will only make the situation worse.

Your task is to help provide helpful information to support the city leader who would like the government to consider school vouchers as a good alternative to help these inner-city children receive an equal education. In your thought processes, consider how someone from the suburbs may interpret the situation differently since they are not experiencing the situation first-hand. Consider how ethnocentrism may cloud a person’s judgment.